By Sgt. 1st Class Rhonda M. Lawson, 3rd Sustainment Bde., 3rd ID Public AffairsMay 21, 2009
FORT STEWART, Ga. - He may not be a Fort Stewart Soldier, but he is definitely no stranger to Georgia or the Fort Stewart community.
More than 200 hundred Soldiers, political figures and community members assembled in Marne Chapel May 16, to witness Chap. (Maj.) Larry Shaw receive the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Badge and the Joint Service Commendation Medal.
"When you see me standing here, I stand here in the name of those who came before me, and those who will come after me," Chap. Shaw said during the ceremony.
The ceremony was attended by his Family, Representative Al Williams, Senator Saxby Chambliss, 3rd Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, and members of Chap. Shaw's churches in Hinesville and Moultrie.
An Army Reservist, Chap. Shaw is the Prelate Bishop of the 1st Jurisdiction of Southern Georgia of the Church of God in Christ and the founder of the Full Gospel Tabernacle COGIC in Hinesville. He received the awards due to his service and injuries he sustained while serving on a humanitarian mission in Afghanistan. He and other Soldiers helped bring supplies to Afghan refugees, but his last mission would prove to be the most dangerous - his convoy was hit by a roadside bomb.
"We served 800 Families two to three times per month," Chaplain Shaw explained. "We put our lives on the line to win the hearts of the Afghans through humanitarian efforts."
"Chap. Shaw is just a great American hero," said Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss, who presented Chaplain Shaw with the Purple Heart during the ceremony. "He's a special chaplain in the U.S. Army, and that's a real commitment. He's also a native of my hometown of Moultrie, so that gives me an extra sense of pride."
Chaplains are considered noncombatants, so for them to receive an award presented for being injured as a result of contact with the enemy is not a normal occurrence. This is what made the ceremony even more compelling for Sen. Chambliss.
"When I read the write-up for this, I said 'what is a chaplain doing getting the Purple Heart''" Sen. Chambliss said in his speech during the ceremony.
He added later, "We normally think of chaplains sitting in an office counseling Soldiers. Soldiers have problems just like civilians do. But Chap. Shaw was doing that part of his job [when he was hit.] He took the opportunity to help, and that says a lot."
Chaplain Shaw is currently being treated at Fort Bragg in the Warrior Transition Battalion. He said he plans to finish his career as a Soldier and retire in the Moultrie area, where he will continue serving his jurisdiction as a bishop.